Steve Nichols is an American engineer who is best known as a car designer for many Formula One teams from the mid-1980s until 2001.

Hello .......

In a long career in motor racing I've been fortunate to work with many of the top teams and the greatest drivers of the the time ........but when all's said and done, I will always be, at heart, a McLaren man.

McLaren

.........I spent two spells there . The first bringing my experience of carbon fibre to the McLaren MP4/1, working alongside John Barnard in a design department initially consisting of just three people!

Steve Nichols

Nichols graduated from the University of Utah in 1972. He began his career as a development engineer at Hercules Aerospace in 1973. In mid-1980 he moved to motorsport and joined McLaren in Formula One. In 1987 he became head car designer in McLaren following the departure of John Barnard to Ferrari.

Formula One

(also known as Formula 1 or F1) is the highest class of single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and owned by the Formula One Group. The World Drivers' Championship, which became the FIA Formula One World Championship in 1981, has been one of the premier forms of racing around the world since its inaugural season in 1950.

The McLaren MP4/4 - the most successful F1 car ever built

Rumours about his future had been circulating and I became aware that something was happening with a casual remark from the night watchman at McLaren who said that we must be incredibly busy as our Technical Director was at the factory in the middle of the night printing numerous McLaren drawings!

The N1A

So when I was looking for a project to keep me amused in my old age, the idea of taking a fresh look at the very first McLaren, the "M1A", had great appeal. The car is strictly a one-off prototype with all the rough edges that it implies .........

About Steve Nichols

 From Steve ……….

 I suppose the story of the MP4/4 began with John Barnard’s departure for Ferrari .

 Rumours about his future had been circulating and I became aware that something was happening with a casual remark from the night watchman at McLaren who said that we must be incredibly busy as our Technical Director was at the factory in the middle of the night printing numerous McLaren drawings! When I was the technical chief at Ferrari several years later, I saw some of those same  McLaren drawings in his former Ferrari facility in Guildford.

When I told Ron Dennis that John was copying the drawings and must be planning on leaving his reaction was a combination of extreme anger and disappointment.  He said he felt like he had put John on a pedestal and John had stood on the pedestal and pissed on him. This was followed by mild panic as to how we would manage without him.

I explained that in reality John didn’t do everything himself, that there was a team in place, that under his direction all the required functions were already performed by members of the design team and that in his absence this thoroughly competent design team would be more than capable of filling the void. Having calmed down a bit, Ron let John go (loud ructions from upstairs!) and let us get on with the job, which was to focus on the car for next season, the MP4/3.

New Ideas

The Nichols N1A

So when I was looking for a project to keep me amused in my old age, the idea of taking a fresh look at the very first McLaren, the “M1A”, had great appeal.  The car is strictly a one-off prototype with all the rough edges that it implies ……… but over time the aim is to turn it into a beautifully finished vehicle worthy of its, and my,  McLaren roots.

Hello to all ! ….. and hope you are all enjoying this sunny weather in England! … or elsewhere if you live abroad.  We’ve created our website as a means of keeping people informed about the Nichols N1A.   The car is a prototype/working mule. We were getting so many people coming up and asking us about the car, that we decided to produce a flyer to hand-out ….. our voices were getting hoarse at the end of day repeating ourselves so we decided to produce a flyer which you can download from our downloads section.

 

 

 

“For a kid from the sticks to arrive in England… I thought it was just fantastic. John felt it was important for Alan and I to go to a few races each year, to get hands-on experience of what the car was actually like on the circuit. So here I was going off to Monza, Zandvoort and so on. When I worked on Indycars there would sometimes be a TV set in the paddock, showing an F1 race, and I was always thinking, ‘I gotta be there,’ so it really was a dream come true.”

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